I was recently offered the opportunity to try Kwik Stix for review. Kwik Stix, made by The Pencil Grip, Inc., are solid tempera paint sticks that come in twistable tubes, similar to a glue stick. They are billed as a no-mess painting alternative. I was skeptical. No water, no brushes, no mess sounded to me like no fun.
So I gave them a try… and was instantly converted. The paint glides onto the paper so smoothly and the colors are so vibrant that they’re a delight to use. They go on wet, the drying time is 90 seconds, and they dry to a lovely smooth finish. I tried them on a variety of paper types, from thin and junky to heavy and toothy, and they worked well on everything. I also experimented with using Sharpie markers over the dried paint to add details, and that worked really well too.
I offered them to some kids and teens to sample. One gal, an eighteen year-old with limited hand motion due to Cerebral Palsy, liked them a lot. She loves to work with bright colors, and these fit the bill. The sticks were not too difficult for her to grip, and since they don’t need a ton of pressure to work well, she could do some expressive work. My grandson, a few months shy of three years old, was also a willing tester. They were a great success with him. The sticks are a nice size for little hands, affording young children the kind of control that allows them to be highly expressive in a way that isn’t really possible with a paint brush.
Children tend to leave materials uncapped as they work, and these paints do start to dry out when they’re left uncapped for awhile. But they can be easily revived by running them back and forth on a piece of paper until they’re moist again. This is also a good way to clean off smudges that accumulate on the ends.
These paint sticks are a product anyone can enjoy, but are especially great for those who don’t have the physical or emotional control to work with wetter paints and with brushes.
Kwik Stix are available in packs of 6 colors ($5.99) and 12 colors ($11.99) from thepencilgrip.com.